The Apple Card Issuer Is Being Investigated Because Of Discrepancies In Credit Limits Between Men And Women
Huge differences in credit limits issued to men and women have led to an investigation into sexism with the Apple Card by New York’s Department of Financial Services. The department will be looking into Goldman Sachs, who issues Apple Card, after a series of reports including a thread of tweets by David Heinemeier Hansson.
Hansson found that, despite having joint tax returns and communal property, he was offered 20x more credit than his wife. Steve Wozniak, the famous tech giant, reported that he received 10x the credit issued to his wife, despite having all joint accounts and assets. Reports have led many to suspect that the algorithm used to determine creditworthiness has a huge gender bias, something denied by the company.
“Our credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law,” Andrew Williams, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, told Bloomberg.
Despite their assertions, it’s difficult to see how sexism could not be at play with such a clear discrepancy between husband and wife in repeated cases — even when the wife had a higher credit score than her spouse.
The Apple Card was unveiled earlier this year, touting itself as an affordable option that helped educate and give control to borrowers. Offering cashback — especially, unsurprisingly, when money was spent on Apple products — and helping you control your payments to reduce the amount of interested paid, the marketing pushed a consumer-first image.
The same thing happened to us. I got 10x the credit limit. We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets. Hard to get to a human for a correction though. It's big tech in 2019.
— Steve Wozniak (@stevewoz) November 10, 2019
The card quickly hit a few setbacks, however. Soon after its release, the company had to issue a warning that the Apple Card could be damaged by jeans, leather wallets, and other cards — essentially every aspect of everyday use. But while the internet may love to sneer at the ridiculousness of big tech clashing with real life, the recent revelations about credit reveal a more sinister disconnect. Though the findings are still to come, the fact that an investigation has been launched in the first place will have many wondering exactly how this algorithm works and what other prejudices it might have.
The Department of Financial Services will be running an investigation to “determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex”, according to a spokesperson for the department. “Any algorithm that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class violates New York law.”